Avoid Temp Swings in MES (By Bear)

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by bearcarver, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thank You Sir,

    LOL----I made a suggestion to them a few years ago:

    Get rid of your outside chip dumper, so you can put the heating element in the center to eliminate the unbalanced heat from left to right.

    Make a special place for Todd's AMNPS, and make a Wholesale deal with him so MB can sell the AMNPS along with their MES smokers.

    They didn't bite on that one, however they did make some changes after my other suggestions, like move the top vent from the back right to the back left on top, and get rid of the full width slanted drip plate & go back to the Gen #1 type water pan. These changes are seen in their Gen #2.5. And it sounds like they were a huge improvement.

    Bear
     
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Jted !!

    Glad you understood it the way it is!!

    Bear
    I Thank You Sir!!

    Bear
     
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes---The over-runs would be different, but this method still cuts the swing amounts down.

    With a lot of cold meat in the smoker, the upward over-run will be less, and the downward over-run will be more.

    No matter empty, full, or half full, the big thing is to eliminate the long over-runs caused by long runs, and each time you reduce an over-run, the following over-run in the other direction will be less than it would have been.

    It's hard to explain, but that's the best way I can think of saying it.

    Kinda like a swinging ball on a rope. Give it a good long swing, and the following swings will be slightly less each time it changes direction, and go on for a long time, but cut one of those swings down by intervention, and the swings can be reduced quickly.

    Bear
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  5. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Nice post, thanks Bear.  I was going to post something similar asking questions about the overrun.  I noticed at one point yesterday my temps were coasting all the way up to 250F.  I went the check on the smoker, and the afternoon sun had come out and was beating my black Cabelas model.  I had to dial it down a bit, but the overun was like 30F and the underrun was like 5F.  It's tricky.

    I reckon if our chip loaders were sealed, we would have greater stability (i.e. less wind).  Also, the AMPS adds heat when burning so probably explains the overruns.

    But I think there are so many variables like wind, sun, humidity etc, its hard to say.  You just have to watch your controlled and get a feel for it.  THATS WHY I AM STARTING TO LOVE THE BLUETOOTH.  I can change the temp from inside the house.  Very cool.

    On another note, I think an iGrill with charts would come in really handy to see if you have been having overuns like I was in the 250F range for how long, 10min, 1 hour?  I couldnt be sure.  Charts would be really helpful. 
     
  6. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Bear, I'd appreciate your feedback. Yesterday--which was sunny and warm--I had my MES 30 Gen 1 warming up to a set point of 250°. After placing the BBQ probe of my ET-733 inside the smoker I saw the temp shoot up to 300-302°. When I lowered the set point to 220° and opened the door to let the heat and closed it again, it shot up to 300° again. This was happening while I was letting my AMNPS heat up on the ground outside the smoker. The final time I set it at 220° it went up to 252° and stayed there until I reduced the temp to 190° after leaving the door open and closing it again, and the temp stayed about 217°. I put in 4 ribeye steaks along with the AMNPS and the controller temp stayed solid at 220°. I wound up bumping the temp up to 250° because I was afraid the steaks would take too long to get to 95° IT. As it turned out they got up there more quickly than I figured, slightly before the coals in my Weber kettle charcoal grill were ready. I let the steaks go up to 117° IT before pulling them from the smoker.

    I made sure I again cleaned the hi temp shutoff switch which had been clean before I turned the smoker on. I've read your posts on how the MES controller works but I don't understand why the temp got so high in the empty smoker and then settled down just before I put the steaks and the AMNPS in. Once I got the temp stabilized I had no further problems with my MES. It performed great as always.
     
  7. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Was the smoker in direct sunlight?  I found mine way overshot when the afternoon sun starting hitting it directly. 
     
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Bear, I'd appreciate your feedback. Yesterday--which was sunny and warm--I had my MES 30 Gen 1 warming up to a set point of 250°. After placing the BBQ probe of my ET-733 inside the smoker I saw the temp shoot up to 300-302°. Did you go right to 250° Non-stop from the start? When I lowered the set point to 220° and opened the door to let the heat and closed it again, it shot up to 300° again. How long did you have the door open? This was happening while I was letting my AMNPS heat up on the ground outside the smoker. The final time I set it at 220° it went up to 252° and stayed there until I reduced the temp to 190° Your saying it went to 252°, and didn't come down to the 220° temp setting??? For how long was this? after leaving the door open and closing it again, and the temp stayed about 217°. I put in 4 ribeye steaks along with the AMNPS and the controller temp stayed solid at 220°. I wound up bumping the temp up to 250° because I was afraid the steaks would take too long to get to 95° IT. As it turned out they got up there more quickly than I figured, slightly before the coals in my Weber kettle charcoal grill were ready. I let the steaks go up to 117° IT before pulling them from the smoker.

    I made sure I again cleaned the hi temp shutoff switch which had been clean before I turned the smoker on. I've read your posts on how the MES controller works but I don't understand why the temp got so high in the empty smoker and then settled down just before I put the steaks and the AMNPS in. Once I got the temp stabilized I had no further problems with my MES. It performed great as always.

    First of all if it's hot out, and you set your MES for 250° right from the start, it can over-run to 300°, however you shouldn't have to turn your setting down to 220° and open the door to get the heat down. Unless there's something wrong with your control, it will get back down to your setting eventually without changing your setting. It may take awhile because the whole inside was at 300°, so it takes awhile to cool down.

    I wish I knew exactly what you did, because it depends on how long you opened the door. If you only opened it for a minute or so, then closed the door, it could go back to 300° because everything inside is still at 300°, but if you opened the door long enough to get the whole thing down to 220°, there's no way it should go back to 300°. I don't care how hot it is, the sun isn't going to take it up to 300°.

    Why did you set it at 250° to smoke a Steak??

    There's a lot of things you didn't tell me here.

    Bear
     
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    When you're talking about Temps in the 250° range, the AMNPS has nothing to do with any over-run.

    Bear
     
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A lot of things I didn't tell you? How am I to know what you're going to ask???

    The temp shot up to 300° several times while I was doing other things. I was hoping it was just the natural over-run but I didn't have time to experiment. I had to get the steaks in the smoker by certain time so that when they were at the proper IT I could transfer them to my charcoal grill (which I hadn't yet lit the coals for). I figured that just by lowering the controller temp that would reduce the heat but it was happening too slowly and I was on a tight time schedule. That's why I opened the door a couple of times.

    When I lowered the controller temp I didn't see it move down from 302 but then I didn't take much time to wait on it. But, Bear, I told you everything I did. I left the door open long enough to watch the temp reduce down to the low 200s both times I left the door open. The first time I closed it again and had the controller on 235° it shot up to 300°. I was worried it was pulling the same thing it did when I was smoking a chuckie last year.

    My feeling is that when you've got a metal smoker outside in the hot sun the outside heat is going to add to the interior heat somewhat. I think cold smoking on a hot summer's day has to be different from cold smoking on a cold winter's day. I thought perhaps the problem might be that the smoker was empty with nothing to work as a heat sink but that didn't make sense. Anyway the smoke temp stayed at 252° until I both lowered the controller down to about 200° and kept the door open for the interior heat to drop down to about that same temp. What still confuses me is why the smoker temp shot back up to 300° after I had left the door open for about a minute to lower the interior temp down to the low 200s, lowered the controller temp to 235° and then closed the door? I still don't understand all about how the controller works during the heat up phase. All I know is that I eventually got the set point I wanted before I put the steaks in.

    I first chose a set point of 250° because I didn't know how long it would take to raise the steaks' IT to 95°. I had no idea if it would take an hour or two or three. But I decided 250 was too high so I lowered it to 220° which is where it finally stayed until I bumped it back up. Then I saw the FOOD probe showing the meat IT rising more quickly than I had figured and realized it doesn't take that long to smoke ribeye steaks in a smoker. Again, this was my first time and I was trying to adapt your step-by-step for smoking a ribeye roast to smoking 4 ribeye steaks. I knew going into the smoke that there's a great difference between a roast and four steaks but I thought I could make the adjustment, which I pretty much did since the steaks looked the way I wanted them to when I pulled them out.

    I would say that next time I'll do it differently but there won't be a next time. I'm strictly grilling steaks and forgetting about reverse searing from now on. Way too much trouble--but it was a great experiment. Turns out I overcooked my steak on the grill and not in the smoker. I'm also going to test the controller by setting it to 250°, seeing how high it goes, and what happens when I reduce the heat. I know that the controller always overshoots the set point by 30 degrees or so during the warm up cycle but I want to run a test when I'm not pressed for time. It was Father's Day, you know, and dinner for the family was on me!
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Bear
     
  12. ostrichsak

    ostrichsak Meat Mopper

    You just made my point for me.  You agree that there is a controller that could be equipped that would work better than what MB chose to equip these smokers with.  This is exactly my point and you agree with me you just won't admit it.  [​IMG]   Rather than the bare bones controller they chose to run this smoker they could have chose a controller with more robust firmware.  The cost to do so from a manufacturer standpoint would have been negligible at most.  The fact of the matter is they took serious hits in quality in the name of saving pennies.  The result is a smoker that requires you to use band-aid work-arounds to avoid substantial temperature swings which shouldn't be an issue to address in the first place.  Like I said, this thread is a great way to address the problem but the problem still remains and it's a problem that could be avoided easily from a manufacturing standpoint which is my point.  Masterbuilt should have given us a smoker with an acceptable controller and not this bare bones basic one-temp controller that has zero fuzzy logic.  Hell, my aquarium heater has more complex firmware/control and that's not saying much.  

    I'm thankful for this post as it's a work-around I will use while I continue to use my MB smoker but at the same time I'm planning to make the move to something else because I don't feel that MB really cares to address the problem at hand and continue to put out inferior products to maximize their profits at the cost of customer experience which in turn ultimately hurts the smoking hobby.
    It's not irrelevant because it's nearly the exact same principal.  You have a space calling for a specific temperature and a device who's purpose is to read the current temperature and call for heat from a secondary unit until the desired temperature is met.  It's nearly identical in every way so simply stating that it's irrelevant doesn't make it so.

    You also say that you haven't seen this behavior and that's also a big point that I'm trying to make.  When it works properly it's not something you're aware of because it just works.  If you have a digital stat look up how to access the service menu which usually takes a series of secret button presses in a certain order because you can really screw things up unless you're a trained professional.  These settings are usually set at the factory (just like MB could) and are close enough that 99% of users will never know it's happening behind the scenes... it just happens.  End user sets a temperature and walks away w/o having to first set a temperature at a lower point and wait and then adjust it higher after a day or two and then adjust it again and then finally they can set it at a desired temperature where it will remain moving forward.  How silly would that be if you had to do that band-aid work-around in your home?  Would you get another thermostat if it would swing temperatures (assuming all other components of your HVAC system are working properly) 20% or more the way this controller does?  Of course you would.  If your home temperature swung 15 deg (20%) one way and then the other (so we're talking between 55deg & 85deg here if your desired temp is 70deg) you would say that thermostat was defective and you would throw it in the trash and buy a new one w/o giving it a second though.  So tell me why that doesn't apply here?
     
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL---I never said you can't get better controls. The ones they use in the MES are fine for what we pay for the smoker.

    I said if you want something that can anticipate you need something better, like a PID.

    I didn't start this thread to argue that MB could put a $100 PID in, so this thread would be worthless.

    Like most of my threads, I posted this thread to help people to deal with what they have. If you want something better, buy it, because telling people these controls are no good does nobody any good.

    Meanwhile Tell me which electric smoker you can get for the price of an MES smoker that has better controls. Or which HVAC can you get for under $400?

    Bear
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  14. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    I agree with OP.  There should be some sort of firmware involved that learns how far the MES is coasting at any given point in time and make adjustments.  That would be valuable to consumers. 
     
  15. ostrichsak

    ostrichsak Meat Mopper

    I get why you started this thread but I don't get why you appear to be hell bent on starting an argument with me over something as simple as what MB should have done.  I'm not saying they would have put a $100 PID in the MES because they wouldn't need to to rectify the situation.  All they would need to do is modify the firmware that is included in their existing controller to include fuzzy logic to better account for temperatures.  That's it.  Pretty simple actually and the cost to the manufacturer would be negligible.  When I said negligible earlier I meant negligible and NOT $100 added to the bottom line.  We're talking in the ballpark of a few bucks per unit sold spread out over all of the models since it would effectively use the same firmware designs they created.  I feel that the basis of your argument is that it would require a $100 hike in the final price of the units and that's simply not the case.  Agreeing that MB could probably do better with not much more added to their budget doesn't in anyway negate your thread.
     
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is the last I'll reply to this line of discussion:

    [​IMG]

    This thread was designed to help people use what they have. If it's more important to you to have MB change the way they do things, call them. You already ruined this thread, with things that help nobody to keep their temps from making big swings. All this back & forth about why they used parts they used is helping nobody.

    Thanks a lot,

    Bear
     
  17. ostrichsak

    ostrichsak Meat Mopper

    With all due respect you ruined this thread by turning this into something it never was.  I thanked you for your post, said I would use that as a work-around for my existing unit and then mentioned that MB could have easily prevented this with proper firmware.  Why you felt the need to turn it into an argument (somehow defending MB in their lazy approach to smoking controllers) is beyond me.  All I did was state the obvious about how MB should have spent a LITTLE more time on developing the firmware for this and all their MES line and we wouldn't have this issue.  Simple agreement would have been fine but you felt the need to turn this into an argument.  Not me.

    I guess you disagree that if MB would include a better controller it wouldn't make all of our lives easier?  Otherwise, why would you argue with me in the first place?
     
  18. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    @Bearcarver, I knew my humor wouldn't translate into writing. I was afraid that my statement "A lot of things I didn't tell you? How am I to know what you're going to ask???" would be taken seriously. I meant it to be stupidly absurd. I should have put a smiley face after it. I just saw all that you went through with Ostrichsak although I really didn't read any of it because it looks like it spiraled out of control and get very heated. I picked the wrong time to try to be funny with you.

    I'll be smoking a brisket next week and I'll see then if there's a controller problem or not if the temp skyrockets again during the heatup. I'm afraid you're right, my controller might have intermittent problems and intermittent electrical or electronic problems tend to grow into chronic problems until the component fails.

    Regarding the PM you sent me about cooking at 150° I think I missed it and I'm very sorry that I did because it would have made a difference. I thought I read all your PMs to me but either I missed that one or I skimmed over it somehow. Sometimes when there's a lot going on in the room where my computer is I'll get distracted. As for boosting the cooking temp to 250°, I realized it was too high for the steaks but I was trying to bring the IT up to 95° more quickly. I thought it would take 2-3 hours but it wound up taking less than an hour. My other excuse is that on that morning I was a bit stressed, concerned that I wouldn't be able to pull off dinner. I was really worried that I had made things too complicated and that I had bitten off more than I could chew--and I'm not only talking about the steak! But it did all work out and everyone enjoyed the meal and Father's Day turned out wonderfully well.

    I apologize if you thought I was also picking a fight with you. I credit you with my doing as well as I did with the steaks but I curse myself for missing or overlooking your advice about cooking at 150°. Darn it all, Bear! I demand a rematch with ribeye steaks because I know next time it'll be easier and I'll nail medium rare for my son and I. I'll just ruin my wife's and daughter's steaks (medium to medium well) as per usual.
     
  19. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Bear, how many cycles does it take, or how long does it take, for the temps to settle into a reasonable range, say +- 10F of 225F, if you just set it at 225F and leave it.  30min?  45min?
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  20. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Bear this helps a great bunch I will try it on my next smoke

    A full smoker is a happy smoker 
     

    DS
     
     

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